Iraqi Kurdistan: Kurdish journalists repeatedly attacked and excluded from access to official Covid information

The Kurdish Journalists Syndicate (KJS) has condemned abuses of media freedom by the government and local authorities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined its affiliate in urging the authorities to respect the right of every media outlet to access information related to the health of the whole population.

Credits: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Kurdish media outlets have reported several cases of violence against journalists in recent months. According to  Rojname website, freelancer Amanj Warte received anonymous threats, while newspaper Ekurd Daily reported that journalist Hemin Mamand was arrested twice for criticizing the local government and Kurdish prime minister Barzani. Another journalist, Adnan Rashid, was attacked in his own home. KJS also reported that some Kurdish media outlets have been denied access to official information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Media freedom is under severe pressure in Iraq. Two journalists were shot dead in January this year. KJS has documented attempts to undermine media freedom alongside attacks on human rights, not just against journalists but also of the wider population.

We condemn these irresponsible actions towards journalists. We consider them violations, irreconcilable with freedom and democracy.” the KJS said.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “In times of a pandemic, journalists should not face restrictions on access to information. The public has a fundamental right to know and any attempt to obstruct journalists’ work violates this right and must be strictly condemned. We demand Kurdish and Iraqi authorities guarantee freedom of the media and let our colleagues work without fear or threats.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News